Your offer has been accepted! Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a happy homeowner. However, before you can take possession of your new home, there are several important steps that need to be taken. Having a Buyer’s Representative to guide you through this process makes your life less stressful and could save you from making a costly mistake. Every transaction is unique, but the most important steps include:
- Complete a home inspection – Assuming this contingency was in your contract, you will want to schedule the inspection with a qualified home inspector. He will provide you with a detailed report of any problems found in your home. If he finds severe issues, then you may want to walk away from the contract, assuming you have that option. If you feel the issues are not too major, then you can submit a list of requested repairs to the Seller. Laws vary in every state, but keep in mind that Sellers are generally only required to repair issues with major systems. Examples would be; structure, roof, electrical, plumbing, etc. Cosmetic issues are not required, but can be negotiated depending on the deal.
- Complete a Termite Inspection – In addition to the home inspection, you will also want to consider getting a termite inspection. If you plan on obtaining a loan to pay for your house, the bank will almost certainly require one. The termite inspection is called a CL-100 report. It will tell you whether there is active or past evidence of wood destroying insects, moisture issues under the house, and if there is enough damage to warrant repair.
- Choose an Attorney – Your real estate attorney serves an important role. Make sure to choose one early in the process and schedule his or her participation in your closing.
- Finalize Your Mortgage – Hopefully you you chose your lender prior to getting your home under contract. In today’s market, most seller’s expect you to be “pre-approved” by a reputable lender before they will consider your offer. Once you are under contract, you should immediately contact your lender to let them know and supply them with all the details they need. Mortgage underwriting in today’s market has become complicated to say the least. In many cases securing a loan can take up to 45 days, so don’t procrastinate!
- Prepare to Move – The importance of this step is sometimes overlooked due to all the work leading up to closing. Decide if you will use a moving company or somehow persuade your friends to help. If you choose the latter, do not expect them to remain your friends after the move! You will also need to coordinate with your utility companies, post office, bank, credit card companies, insurance agent, attorney, and any other businesses or individuals that need to know you will be moving.
- Final Walk Through – The final walk through should be performed as close to closing as possible. You want to check for three things: 1) make sure the home was not damaged when the Seller moved out, 2) ensure all contracted items, such as appliances, are still in the home, and 3) make sure all agreed upon repairs were completed. If there were a lot of repairs made, it is usually best to have your home inspector return for a re-inspection.
- Prepare to Pay Closing Costs – In all the work and excitement leading up to closing, don’t forget that you most likely need to bring a check to closing. You should have received a final HUD statement from your attorney (depending on your state of residence) that outlines final closing costs. Double check the figure and don’t be afraid to question it if you think it is wrong. Mistakes happen! You will also want to find out what form of payment will be accepted. A personal check will not be accepted in most cases.
Drew Parker is the owner and Broker in Charge of The Parker Company real estate in Greenville, SC.